Valentine's Day makes February the uncontested month of love. We at ShortStack wanted to know how companies show their customers the love, so we conducted a survey asking businesses and brands to rate their own customer service. Turns out, most see their efforts as the kind of stuff George Gershwin was writing about when he penned "S'Wonderful." A whopping 76.9 percent of the 1,403 companies polled said they give at least "great" customer service, while 30 percent rate their service as "stellar."
Most companies reported using multiple means to deliver their support, with social media taking the top, most-used spot at 79.7 percent. Email (78.3 percent), phone (63.3 percent), in-person (51 percent), and website submission forms (49.1 percent) rounded out the top-five means of customer service. Interestingly, when asked which method was most effective, in-person was the runaway winner, despite being the fourth most-used. It seems that even in today's world of impersonal, electronic communication, there's no substitute for a warm smile and a handshake.
Explained Severn C. of Camp Run-A-Mutt, "In a day and age where 'your call is important to us, please wait...' has become the norm, making a personal connection and being responsive to customer needs seems the obvious answer for success."
While businesses can make every concerted effort possible to ensure their customers receive sterling support, you can't always keep everyone happy. So what happens when the customers start singing a less-than-loving tune? More than 98 percent of those polled manage a Facebook Page for their business. When fans voice their dissatisfaction on the company's Facebook Wall, what's the response like?
Missy S., of Southern Belle Store was in the 65.6 percent majority who said responding to and addressing a Wall post publicly is the best way to approach disgruntled fans. "The complaints are rare but when we do get one on our wall, it stays there. Removing it only implies that we have something to hide. Customers like to see things handled openly. We reply offering assistance with the issue and follow through until it has been resolved. The entire exchange is public and available for everyone to see. I believe that this approach says much more about a company than a complaint ever will."
Others chose to deal with disgruntled fans differently. An initial public response followed by private correspondence was the second most-common method at 31.2 percent, while 17.5 percent did nothing and let their fans respond for them, and 11.6 percent who ignored the dissatisfied customer's complaint completely.
How does your company measure-up? You may hear Nat King and Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable" duet when you think about the quality of your customer service, but what do your fans think? Are they singing in unison, or humming "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams"?